Today in Hip Hop History: Guru’s Birthday

Guru from Gangstarr

July 17, 1962

Keither Edwards Elam, otherwise known as Guru (an acronym for Gifted Unlimited Rhymes Universal), was born in Roxybury, Massachusetts in 1962. Guru graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia with a degree in business administration.

Guru was a rapper, producer and actor; most famous for being one half of the legendary hip hop duo Gangstarr with DJ Premier. Guru is known for slick rhyme schemes and dropping knowledge over boom bap beats.

He founded Gang Starr alongside others in 1987. After some members disbanded, Guru and Premier released their first LP No More Mr. Nice Guy on Wild Pitch Records; they acquired a significant following and released 6 critically acclaimed and influential albums from 1989 to 2003. Gangstarr’s legacy in the hip hop world will never be forgotten nor replaced.

Guru went on to release several solo albums; In 1993, Guru released the first of his Jazzmatazz series pairing the MC alongside jazz greats. He released 3 more Jazzmatazz installments up until 2007. Guru also released his first solo album in 2001 called Baldhead Slick & Da Click, which mainly combined Hip Hop/RnB elements. In 2005, Guru followed up with his second and last solo album Version 7.0 – The Street Scriptures.

On February 28, 2010, Guru went into cardiac arrest and fell into a coma. It was claimed that Guru had briefly awakened from his coma but died from cancer on April 19, 2010, at the age of 48. Guru is one of the greatest MCs to have ever picked up the mic. RIP

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